COVID-19 What is the situation in Australia?
COVID-19 cases in Australia
As of Tuesday 31 March 2020, there were 2032 COVID-19 cases in New South Wales, 917 in Victoria, 743 in Queensland, 305 in South Australia, 355 in Western Australia, 69 in Tasmania, 80 in the Australian Capital Territory and 15 in the Northern Territory. 19 people have now died in Australia. There are currently 50 people in intensive care, with 20 of those on ventilators, Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
Measures taken by the Government
In the State of New South Wales, as of Tuesday 31 March 2020, people must stay at home unless they are going to work (if they cannot work remotely), if they have to shop for food or essentials, get medical needs or care of others, exercise.
If they do go out, they must stay 1.5 metres away from other people and they can’t gather in public with more than two people (unless they are members of the same household).
People in New South Wales who are out of their home without a reasonable excuse face fines of up to $11,000 and six months in jail.
Each state and territory of Australia has its own rules. However, it seems that most Australians who can work from home have already been doing so for the couple of weeks.
COVID-19 can only be controlled by social distancing and careful personal hygiene. However, other issues have been observed, especially for health care professionals. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to cause anxiety and mental health issues, both in those with the disease and the community as a whole.
Health services around Australia have struggled to source enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to guarantee the safety of frontline healthcare workers including hospital clinicians, general practitioners, community nurses and reception staff. There is also a limited quantity of hand sanitiser and masks. Although Australia has aggressively tested suspected cases, there is a limited supply of swabs, meaning only those who meet the case definition are being tested.
As the number of confirmed cases approaches 5000 and the death toll rises to 19, there have however been some early positive signs of flattening of the curve. Health Minister Greg Hunt said growth had slowed from 25 to 30 per cent a day to about 9 per cent. This shows that the lockdowns are working, and people are being more careful.
Real estate in Australia during the pandemic
The government has announced measures to support tenants, with evictions being banned for at least six months. Interest rates and quantitative easing measures have pushed home loan rates to a 30-year low. But as property auctions, open houses and real-estate agencies have been closed as part of social distancing measures, it is a difficult time for the market.